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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 07SANJOSE999, COSTA RICAN POLICE PROFESSIONALIZATION PROGRAM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07SANJOSE999 2007-05-25 20:08 2011-03-07 18:06 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2702320.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702325.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2702324.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702326.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702327.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0022
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0999/01 1452046
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 252046Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8112
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 3620
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000999 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPATMENT FOR WHA/CEN AND INL/LP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR KCRM PGOV PREL PINR CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICAN POLICE PROFESSIONALIZATION PROGRAM 
 
REF: PANAMA 492 
 
1. SUMMARY:  Taking advantage of technical assistance from 
NAS Panama, Post has launched a multi-year program to 
professionalize Costa Rica's national police force.  With 
crime rates rising rapidly and over 700,000 Amcits visiting 
each year, the program is a key part of our Mission Strategic 
Plan and responds to a direct request for assistance from the 
Arias Administration.  The goal of the program is ultimately 
to transform Costa Rica's Fuerza Publica from a traditional, 
reactive police force into a proactive, community-oriented 
police force that is truly preventative.  Implementation will 
require a complete change of philosophy within the Fureza 
Publica and making effective use of information tools like 
COMPSTAT.  Costa Rica will also have to dedicate substantial 
financial and human resources to the project.  With top-level 
buy-in and a 35% increase in the Ministry of Public 
Security's 2007 budget, plus progress on campaign promises to 
hire 4,000 new police officers over the Arias 
administration's four years in power, the program is off to a 
good start.  END SUMMARY. 
 
The Program 
----------- 
2. The first part of the program targets top police managers 
through a series of seminars on executive leadership 
(SEMAGEL).  The first SEMAGEL was held in San Jose on April 
25-26 at the Ministry of Public Security.  The top official 
for each police district (all 10 Comissarios) and nearly 20 
key operational and administrative staff attended the 
seminar.  Since the program entails radical change, debate 
was lively from the outset with obviously different levels of 
buy-in among the Comissarios.  Over the course of the 
seminar, NAS Panama's Police Advisor Don Gosselin and the 
head of Panama's Metropolitan Police Unit Rigoberto 
Feuillebois addressed questions, challenges, and reservations 
based on their direct personal experience.  While it is too 
soon to declare all the seminar participants completely on 
board, they do have a fuller understanding of what the 
changes mean and how they will be implemented.  The 
philosophies behind community policing were discussed at 
length.  Participants were taught a self-evaluation tool 
(called EARE in Spanish) in which success is measured in 
terms of problems solved at the community level and with 
community participation. 
 
3.  Political leadership at the Ministry of Public Security 
is fully committed to the program.  At the end of the 
seminar, Vice Minister Gutierrez impressed the participants 
with his knowledge of the program and made clear to all that 
a full transition to community policing is a key part of the 
Ministry's overall policy.  The Vice Minister acknowledged 
that implementation will require a complete revision of 
philosophy and doctrine within the Fuerza Publica.  Gutierrez 
urged the Comissarios to faithfully implement the transition, 
and warned that he will be following their progress closely. 
 
COMPSTAT 
-------- 
4.  The second part of the program is to improve management 
tools and technology.  Gosselin and Feuillebois introduced 
COMPSTAT as a management tool to assist senior managers in 
holding subordinates accountable for results.  COMPSTAT is a 
data-analysis tool that generates digital maps which display 
exactly where and when crimes occur so that trends can be 
identified and police resources applied effectively.  The 
group participated in a mock COMPSTAT meeting to understand 
how the process works from the supervisory and mid-level 
management perspective.  Participants saw clearly how 
COMPSTAT can help them respond proactively to prevent crimes 
rather than merely reacting afterward.  They also saw how the 
system will quickly provide feedback to them and to their 
superiors if they fail to use the information effectively. 
COMPSTAT, or a system like it would be a highly effective 
tool in holding mid-level police managers accountable to 
their communities. 
 
Next Steps 
---------- 
5.  The next phase of SEMAGEL is practical application and 
will begin June 18.  The first SEMAGEL seminar ended with a 
homework assignment.  Participants returned to their 
districts charged with working with their communities to 
identify an existing security problem that is solvable within 
current resources.  Officials are expected to work with 
community leaders to resolve the problem while applying the 
EARE self-evaluation tool.  Gosselin and Feuillebios will 
return to review results and to hold another mock COMPSTAT 
meeting based on the results. 
6.  The final phase will require training for up to 150 
mid-level managers in order to create a "command structure" 
capable of directing and focusing the efforts of the 4,000 
new police officers Arias has promised.  Using a "train the 
trainer" model, these mid-level officers will be trained 
primarily in Costa Rica by officials we will send to various 
instructor development courses and police academies in the 
U.S.  Post began this process by sending four officials 
identified by the Ministry as "agents of change" to 
participate in a separate series of leadership seminars 
sponsored by NAS Panama and developed in conjunction with the 
Southern Police Institute at Louisville University (Reftel). 
This five-week course will build on SEMAGEL and provide 
in-depth training for the implementation of community 
policing.  Also, we will send officials to train at the 
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in 
conjunction with training financed by NAS Panama. Finally, we 
are exploring opportunities to send instructors to train at 
the New Mexico State Police Academy as part of the new Costa 
Rica State Partnership Program with the New Mexico National 
Guard. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
7.  The program is ambitious, urgently needed, and off to a 
good start.  Adequate resource levels to train the mid-level 
managers and to provide some, but not all, of the equipment 
necessary to get a COMPSTAT-like system operating will 
determine our success.  The GOCR is willing and able to meet 
us part way.  For our part, we have requested $200,000 in 
INCLE funds for 2008 and an additional $100,000 for 2009 to 
support the program and see it through to completion.  For 
Costa Rica to persuade the region that military forces are no 
longer needed to maintain domestic security, its police 
forces must be better trained, better led, more professional 
and more effective.  For a few hundred thousand dollars, we 
can give them a significant push in the right direction. 
WEITZENKORN